Misinformation in Social Media


In this day and age when information can be easily shared with a click, perhaps everyone has used social media to disseminate information. But not everything about this is positive because not all information shared is true and verified. The ability to instantly publish and share content to your readers has enabled trolls and hoax news to thrive; worse, once you click “share” and your content has wrong details, every second or minute that it stays uncorrected all the more perpetuates misinformation.


In response, media and Web-supporting companies such as Google have implemented measures to ensure that the content released through them is verified and fact-checked, while others have begun to educate readers, teaching them to choose the right sources of information and to fact-check the stories on their own because the cycle of misinformation will only end if the media providers and platforms, as well as the audience, all work together.


Here are our stories for this issue:


  • Facebook launches Workplace, made it’s news feed work better for users with slow network connections, and now offers free online courses for journalists who would like to use the social media platform for their media work.
  • Twitter announces that it will be discontinuing Vine in the coming months.
  • Black Mirror writer Charlie Brooker tells how his experience with hatred on social media inspired this season’s finale, “Hated in the Nation.”
  • University of Connecticut associate professor Dave D’Allesio discusses media bias and the US presidential elections.
  • Poynter presents a brief history of data journalism.
  • The Pulitzer Prize Board announces a few changes for the annual contest. Both print and online magazines can now submit an entry in every Pulitzer category.
  • Paul Beatty takes home this year’s Man Booker prize, the first US author to do so.
  • Websites these days use lighter and thinner fonts, but these fonts make it difficult for the elderly and the visually impaired to read the websites.
  • Artists around the world celebrate Inktober by sharing one ink drawing or doodle each day for the whole month of October.
  • The “information literacy” framework used by librarians offers media practitioners and audience members a “more meaningful way to engage with and manage information” especially in the current milieu where information is constantly repackaged and repurposed, especially via social media.
  • Research shows that the decline of traditional media platforms and the reliance on a single platform (like a social media one) for news – that is mixed with gossip –  encourages clustering of like-minded individuals and may contribute to weakening the setting up of a “common public agenda” that can lead to destabilizing behavior in politics as well as in markets.
  • An investigative reporter who probed into the identity of Elena Ferrante, author of the best-selling multivolume Neapolitan novels, discusses his motivations for revealing the real identity of Ferrante, who has been likened to authors like Thomas Pynchon for shunning the public eye.


Image: “Confusion” by Getty Images. Used under a Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0) license

Ditto is a fortnightly collection of stories on publishing, media, communications, and topics that concern editorial professionals from the most credible sources on the Web. We hope to educate young professional writers and editors about industry standards, breakthroughs, and trends, among other things. Usually, you’ll find news and commentaries in here, but from time to time, we also feature tweets, visuals, games, freebies, and other fun but useful stuff that caught our eye.

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